During your pregnancy you will have several prenatal appointments which play an important role in the health of you and your baby. Each time you will meet with your provider or their Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner. (Check out our blog here, on choosing a provider.)
First Trimester: Up to Two visits – every four weeks
First 10 weeks: During this time, you have likely just found out you are expecting! Congratulations! At around eight weeks you will have your first prenatal appointment. What to expect during my first prenatal appointment? During this time your provider will do a complete medical history intake including asking about your last menstrual cycle, past pregnancies and family history. You will also have routine prenatal lab work and a physical exam. A urine sample will also be collected to check protein and sugar levels as well as check for UTI’s. If you are due for a PAP this will also be completed. Your provider may also perform an ultrasound for a more accurate estimated due date.
10-12 weeks: This will likely be your last visit during this trimester. Your provider will check your weight and blood pressure at each visit from here on out. After 10 weeks your provider will listen to your baby’s heartbeat. Urine sample. An optional first-trimester genetic screening will be offered and preformed. This genetic screening does not provide any diagnosis but rather evaluates the risk your baby may have for genetic birth defects.
Second Trimester: Three visits – every four weeks
13-16 weeks: Routine weight and blood pressure check. Listen to baby’s heartbeat. Fundal check. Urine sample. A blood test will also be performed. This blood test screens for chromosomal abnormalities and neural tube defects.
18-20 weeks: This is a big one for a lot of families. During this visit you will have your normal routine weight and blood pressure check, listen to baby’s heartbeat, fundal check and urine sample. You will also get to SEE your baby! This visit includes a routine anatomy ultrasound and gender scan.
24-28 weeks: During this visit you will have your normal routine weight and blood pressure check, listen to baby’s heartbeat, fundal check, and urine sample. It is also recommended to take the glucose test. This blood test screens for gestational diabetes.
Third Trimester: 6+ visits. Every two weeks until 36 weeks gestation. Then weekly beyond 36 weeks.
During each of these visits you will have your normal routine weight and blood pressure check, listen to baby’s heartbeat, fundal check, and urine sample.
29-34 weeks: In addition to the normal routine, you may discuss postpartum expectations/plan and breastfeeding. You will also be offered the Tdap vaccine.
35-37 weeks: You may be offered to do an optional pelvic exam to check your cervix. You will also be tested for Group B Strep. This is a very quick swab of the vagina and anus. You will also likely be talking about what is important to you on your birth plan.
37, 38, 39 weeks: Your appointments have moved from bi-weekly to weekly now. Your provider may continue to offer cervical checks. Your provider will also continue to watch closely growth of baby and movement. Your provider may discuss induction around this time.
40+ weeks: Your provider may continue cervical checks and weekly monitoring. In addition to normal routine exams, your provider may recommend additional testing such as a nonstress test or biophysical profile. Sometimes this testing may be recommended earlier than 40 weeks. A nonstress test assess your baby’s heart rate and movement. A biophysical profile combines a nonstress test with a feal ultrasound that evaluates your baby’s breathing, body movements, muscle tone and amniotic fluid level. Your provider may discuss induction around this time if you are still pregnant.
At any time during your pregnancy your provider may recommend additional appointments or testing based off your pregnancy and what you or your baby is medically needing. Each pregnancy is unique and sometimes appointments and testing need to be modified but the above is a very generic guideline of routine for low-risk pregnancies.